Keynote Speech by Consul General Kong Xianhua at the Promotion Event for the 6th China International Import Expo
2023-04-21 18:38

Dear friends, Ladies and gentlemen, Good morning, Namaste!

Representing the CIIE Organizing Committee, Chinese Embassy in India and Chinese Consulate General in Mumbai, I would like to extend the warmest welcome to all the friends attending today’s CIIE promotion event. 

Thank you all for coming.

I arrived here in Mumbai last July. Within these eight months, I have been enchanted by this city. The friendly people, dynamic economy, colorful culture and the unrivaled sunset on the Arabian sea right outside my window. 

Whenever I have the luxury of jogging on the marine drive, I tell myself that I am lucky to be here.

I feel lucky not only because of the beauty of this city but also because of its importance. 

Mumbai is the undeniable trade capital of India. China is one of India’s most important trading partners and Maharashtra accounts for almost one third of China and India bilateral trade. At the end of the day, most of these transactions, in one way or another, are connected to Mumbai. 

So, facilitating bilateral trade is on the very top of my priority list. 

Last year, our bilateral trade reached a new record, $136B, China exported $118B and India exported $18B to each other. These figures are not telling the full story. Quiet a lot of China’s export are intermediate products which finally become Indian export to other countries. 

Even so, it is undeniable that India export too little to China. I have been repeated asked by my Indian friends, how to correct the huge imbalance in our bilateral trade.

The answer is simple as well as sophisticated. It is simple, India should increase export to China. And it is sophisticated, how? 

Today let us try to find a solution. Or at least, let’s start to find a solution.

Let me start first with four proposals.

First, give more emphasis to Chinese market.

In 2022, China imported roughly $3.5T goods and services from all around the world. It is the second largest market next only to US. Chinese GDP has surpassed $18T. And by terms of PPP, China is actually the largest economy in the world. 

What’s more, from this year on, we will focus on the Chinese path to modernization, which means we are going to develop China into a moderate developed country by 2035. The report of the 20th congress of CPC expounded a detailed short and medium term plan for this target. If anyone has interest, I can give your an English version of the report. 

It is a consensus now that China will grow more than 5% this year and keep this momentum as long as some risks are properly handled. Chinese economy grew 4.5% this first quarter, which is a very good start.

So, if your good company missed Chinese market in the past, please do not miss it in the future. Chinese market is just too big to be ignored.

My second proposal, have as many personal connections with Chinese people as you can.

Lasting business partnership could only be built upon mutual trust. And only after you understand your partners’ mindset and morality could mutual trust be established. I strongly recommend you to go to China and have more personal contacts. 

I can assure you that as an Indian, it is not difficult for you to make Chinese friends. When you come to Shanghai, you will find more than 200K Indians are living happily there. Please ask them for opinions. Our president Xi Jinping once said China dream and India dream are interwoven. We strongly believe that China and India should cooperate closely and make the 21th century an Asian century. 

And I recommend you not stop in cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, but go further into inner part of China, into provinces like Sichuan, Hubei, Xinjiang, Yunnan, you will find those areas are not lagging far behind and growing even faster. In some aspects, they are like a blue ocean, offering even more opportunities. 

And be assured most of the cities and towns in China are well connected by high-speed railway or express highway. Your traveling would be easy and cheap.

My third proposal, take advantage of your specialities, especially IT and movie. 

There is a plan in China called Digital China Construction, started from this February. This plan involves digital transformation of the whole economy and society. China has invested very heavily in ICT, for example, China has more than 2M 5G base stations. By saying this, I just want to tell you the Digital China Construction plan is not a bluff, it will generate real and huge demand for IT services. 

In China, Indians are famous for your IT capacity and Indian IT companies are considered as living legends. I do hope my Indian friends will not miss this digital feast. 

As for movie, you might not know how popular Indian movies are in China. The first foreign movie of most people of my age was an Indian one. And we all know that half of the income of Dangal, in Chinese, 摔跤吧爸爸, the Indian best seller, was from China. As the largest movie producer, India should not miss China, the largest box office. 

My last proposal, please go to CIIE.

As for Chinese market, CIIE is the best entrance for new comers. In 2019, more than half a million buyers from all over China visited the booths of about 3800 vendors. The total intentional purchase value exceeded $70B. This year is the first physical exhibition after three years going online. It is highly possible the numbers will be bigger. 

CIIE is also a platform to elevate market awareness for veteran exporters. There are many sideline events, you could meet lots of people, both entrepreneurs, purchasing managers and government officials, you will find it convenient to attract more attention on your company and your products. 

Here is a brief conclusion of my proposals.

First, give more emphasis to China, “make in India” should embrace Chinese market. 

Second, make friends with Chinese merchants and customers, win their heart with your products and charisma. 

Third, take the advantage of your specialities, do not miss the opportunities in the world largest digital transformation campaign and the world largest box office. 

Forth, participate in the CIIE, which is not only the best start point for new comers, but also the most suitable place to take further steps for the veterans.

Last September, on the reception for our national day, I said “Chinese invested companies are playing an important role in the the pursuit of a One-Trillion-Dollar economy by Maharashtra”. Today, I am looking forward to a robust Maharashtra export to China, which should also play an important role in this pursuit.

I also hope when I accomplish my tenure in Mumbai and go back to China, I could find common Chinese people’s life are colorized by Bally-wood movie, Nagpur orange and India stack.

The theme of this event is “Sister cities, New opportunities”. Next year will be the tenth anniversary of Shanghai and Mumbai becoming sister cities. To celebrate this import anniversary, we should plan for a series of events. I believe today we are kicking off a good start of these events.

This is a fast changing but still promising time, let’s join hand together, so that we can face up to the challenges and explore more opportunities.

Thank you! 

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